Tag Archives: soup

#WIAW Going Green: Watercress and Leek Soup & I ♥ Edamame Beans

Last Wednesday I was all set to publish a post on my current favourite lunches, including this beautiful Sweet Beet Soup

Sweet Beet Soup

and this yummy wrap…

Seeded wholegrain tortilla with caramelised onion hummus, grated carrot, grated red cabbage, chopped raw beet root, sweet pickle, sunflower & hemp seeds

Seeded wholegrain tortilla with caramelised onion hummus, grated carrot, grated red cabbage, chopped raw beet root, sweet pickle, sunflower & hemp seeds

 

… when I discovered that the theme for this month’s WIAW parties is ‘Going Green’!  My choice of food colour was all wrong! :/

But no worries, I’m back this week with a recipe for a dish that’s very green indeed… Leek and Watercress Soup.  I’ve mentioned this soup a couple of times on the blog already as it’s one of Lil’ L’s all-time favourite soups.  He’s been eating it since he was a toddler!  A couple of my readers have requested the recipe and I do apologise for how long it’s taken me to get round to posting it.  I’ve got a serious backlog of recipes to post this year, but I’m slowly getting there!

Watercress & Leek Soup - 500 copy

For those of you that may be concerned that watercress is too peppery for kids, rest assured that when cooked in this soup, the pepperiness of the watercress becomes very subtle indeed.  The addition of potatoes contributes to the soup’s mild flavour, as well as giving it a lovely, creamy texture, without the need for milk or cream.

Here’s how I make it…

And finally, before I go, I would just like to show you one of my latest green food obsessions…  Edamame (Soya) Beans!

edamame-beans-look-younger-14062011

[Source]

I can’t believe that I only discovered these beans last month! How on earth did it take me so long? My friend ordered them as a starter when we met for lunch in London and I proceeded to devour the whole bowl!

Back home in Bath, I’ve discovered that Waitrose sell fresh edamame beans on their sushi bar, and in bags in the frozen vegetable section.  I much prefer the unshelled beans.  There’s something really satisfying about popping them out.  Lil’ L loves them too, so I’ve been adding them to his lunch box as a ‘treat’ 😉

As well as being packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, soya beans are also a great source of protein.  If you’re interested in reading more about their health benefits, the Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation have produced an informative 60 page booklet that’s available to download for free.

The Soya Story

I love the fact that even at my old age 😉  I’m still discovering new foods.

Are there any foods that you’ve recently discovered that you love?

 

 

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Filed under Healthy Snacking, Lunches & Light Dinners, Soups

Sweet Beet “Love” Soup

With its sweet, earthy flavour and deep purple colour, I have always been strongly attracted to beets.  In my childhood, my favourite salad ingredient was my Dad’s home grown beetroot, freshly pulled from the garden.

beetroot-uprooted copy

 [Source]

But little did I know as a child how good they were for my health.  I only recently discovered that beets are actually a super food.  Well I never!  Here’s what I’ve learned…

1. Beets are packed with vitamins and minerals
They contain a huge array of nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamins A, B & C, beta-carotene, beta-cyanine and folic acid.

2. Beets are rich in antioxidants which help to protect against disease
Beets are a very good source of antioxidants vitamin C and manganese.  They also contain a powerful group of antioxidants called betalains, which can help in the prevention of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and inflammation. (It’s the betalains that give beets their deep red colour).  The nitrates contained in beets can also help to lower blood pressure.

3. Beets cleanse the body
Beets are a great detoxifier, tonic for the liver and blood purifier.

4. Beets help your mental health
Beets, like chocolate, contain trytophan, a substance which is known to relax the mind and create a sense of well-being.  The betalains contained in beets have also been used in certain treatments of depression.

5. Beets boost our brain power
Beetroot contains high concentrations of nitrates, which are converted in the body into nitric oxide.  This helps open blood vessels in the body, increasing blood flow and oxygen.  Nitrites also increase blood flow to the brain, which may help to prevent dementia.

6. Beets are energy boosters
Beets are a great source of complex carbs and slow-release energy.  The natural nitrates found in beets also help to increase our oxygen intake and energy levels.

7. Beets enhance our physical performance
Studies have shown that the nitrates in beets can enhance physical endurance.  In one study, cyclists who drank 500 ml of beetroot juice were able to ride up to 20% longer.

8. Beets are great for weight management
Beets are high in complex carbs and fibre, but low in calories, which makes them the perfect food for weight management.

And finally, did you know that…

9. Beets are Nature’s Viagra!
The Romans used beets medicinally as an aphrodisiac, and science has proven that beets are indeed a natural Viagra.  Their nitrate content increases blood flow in all areas of the body.  Beets also contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.

If you wish to know more, there’s a clip of Dr Oz talking about the health benefits of beets (including number 9!) here.

Getting in the Mood for Love with …

Sweet Beet Soup!

With its deep red colour and wonderful mood enhancing properties, I reckon beetroot would make a wonderful addition to any romantic meal that you might have planned for your loved ones this evening 😉

On tonight’s menu for us, is a starter of Sweet Beet Soup.  Until recently, I’d only ever eaten beetroot in salad but, inspired by Candy’s beautiful blog post called ‘Simple Pleasures’ I was inspired to try my hand at making a beet soup.

Candy kindly allowed me to share her beet soup photo. Isn’t it stunning?

Sweet Beet 'Love' Soup

And perfect for Valentines!

You must check out Candy’s post.  It is such a beautiful read!

For my beet soup, I chose to add sweet potato.  As well as adding sweetness and additional nutrients, I find it gives soups a wonderful, silky texture (without the need to add cream or milk).  Furthermore, with the addition of the potato, I find that a bowl of soup is filling on its own, without the need to add a side dish of bread.

For protein, additional flavour, textures and nutrients, I add a sprinkling of shelled hempseeds, lightly toasted pumpkin seeds and dried dill.

Here’s how I make it…

[This recipe has been submitted to Ricki Heller’s #Wellness Weekend]

So I’ve got the starter and dessert sorted for tonight’s meal, just got to decide on the main course now!

Are you a fan of Beets? What’s your favourite way of serving them? 

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day everyone xx

p.s. It’s the last day to enter my Valentine’s Raw Chocolate Giveaway (ends midnight GMT tonight).  I’ve been overwhelmed by all the beautiful comments I’ve received on this giveaway.  Thank you so much guys! You really have made my week!  Since there have been so many entries, I’ve decided to make another batch of chocolates, and I’ll select 3 winners in total.  I’ll post details of the winners on FB and Twitter tomorrow, and also email directly.
Good luck everyone xx

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Filed under Lunches & Light Dinners, Soups

#WIAW – I’ll Bring the Chickpea & Vegetable Balti (& recipe!)

Upon my return from the school run this morning, I spotted the first signs of new life in our (otherwise dead looking) garden. The snowdrops seem to have appeared overnight!

Snowdrops

And what a joy they are to behold 🙂

For this week’s WIAW party, I’m sharing our eats from Sunday, which included some of our all-time favourite breakfasts, lunches and dinners. I’ve even written up another one-pot recipe to share. I’ve got such a backlog of recipes to write up… but I’m getting there… slowly!

Thanks, as always, to our most gracious host, Jenn over at Peas and Crayons.

Breakfast

As it was Sunday, Lil’ L was very keen to have a ‘special breakfast’. He’d spotted some very ripe bananas sitting in the fruit bowl and suggested we make some banana pancakes. I halved our usual recipe, used two frying pans, and speedily made 6 pancakes, which we shared 🙂

Banana Pancake with nut and choc chip topping - 500

We’ve been playing around with new toppings for pancakes. This week we had pecans, walnuts, dessicated coconut, choc chips and a drizzle of maple syrup. This combo went perfectly with the banana pancakes.  It was very yummy indeed 🙂

Lunch

Ready for when M got back from his Sunday morning marathon mountain bike ride, I made a large pot of watercress, leek and potato soup, which we served with chunks of wholegrain, seeded bread.

Watercress & Leek Soup - 500

You might be surprised to hear that this is one of Lil’ L’s favourite soups. He’s been eating eat since he was about 2. While raw watercress can be quite peppery, when combined with potato and leek in a soup, it takes on a wonderful, mild taste.

For lunch time dessert, we had a slice (or two!) of raw chocolate and lime cashew cream cake. I actually made this cake for M’s birthday back in December but we never got round to eating it!

Raw Chocolate Lime Cashew Cream Cake - 500

This dessert is really good. Lil’ L described it as ‘scrumdiddlyumptious’! I scribbled notes of how I made it on a scrap of paper and as soon as I locate it (!), I’ll write up the recipe and post it.

Dinner

Our Sunday dinner wasn’t particularly traditional… we had a Chickpea and Vegetable Balti served with home-made naans.  Mind you, maybe curry has become the traditional English Sunday dinner. It wouldn’t surprise me. I can happily eat curry any day of the week 🙂

Chickpea & Vegetable Balti

This balti was designed to be mild enough for children, but if no kiddies are going near the balti bowls, feel free to crank up the heat!

Here’s how I made it:

Lil’ L loved this dish so much that he ‘bagsied’ the fourth portion and took it to school the next day for his lunch, rolled in a seeded tortilla wrap!

[This recipe has been submitted to Ricki Heller’s #Wellness Weekend]

Dessert

To boost our calcium, fruit and omega-3 intake, for dessert we had a berry milkshake smoothie. Since Lil’ L doesn’t like the pips from raspberries and blackberries (I’m not that keen either!), I blended the berries and almond milk first, then sieved it before returning it to the blender and adding banana and chia seeds.  It was creamy, refreshing and ‘special’ enough to be considered a ‘real dessert’ by Lil’ L 😉

Berry Milkshake Smoothie

So that’s me done for another WIAW.  It’s time to hook up with all the lovely bloggers over at Jenn’s. Hopefully see you there!

Are you a fan of curry? If so, what’s your favourite type?
I adore Indian kormas and baltis as well as creamy Thai curries.  I’m such a wimp though when it comes to heat. Anything beyond ‘mild’ and I feel like a pressure cooker about to explode!

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Filed under Baking & Desserts, Breakfast & Elevenses, Dinners

#WIAW – Chocolate Porridge, Tomato & Lentil Soup & Speedy Falafel Wrap

Hi everyone! Hope you’re all doing well & managing to stay warm!

It’s WIAW party time again!  Thanks, all always, to lovely Jenn for hosting this shindig.  For this week’s virtual foodie fest, I thought I’d share my eats from yesterday. Here goes…

Breakfast
Hot water and lemon (pre school drop off)
No run today as it was too icy, so I came straight back home and made myself a warming bowl of chocolate porridge. I used 1/2 cup Mornflake superfast oats (which only take a minute to cook), 1 tbsp cocoa powder and 1 cup Alpro Almond Milk.  Once cooked, I left it to cool for a minute then stirred in 1/2 tbsp hemp seeds, sprinkled some flaked almonds, goji berries and grated dark chocolate on top, and finished it off with a light drizzle of agave syrup. Totally scrumptious!

Chocolate Porridge with Goji Berries - 500 1

Lil’ L had the same breakfast but made with Ready Brek. He prefers the smoothness of Ready Brek and I like the fact that it’s fortified with lots of minerals and vitamins, including calcium, iron and vitamins B12 and D.

Lunch
For lunch, I made some tomato and red lentil soup (recipe here).  I love this soup. It’s so warming and filling! Lil’ L and M took this soup in flasks today for their lunch 🙂

Tomato & Lentil Soup 500

Snacks & Drinks
2 nettle teas, 1 cherry & cinnamon tea, 2 black coffees, Innocent apple juice, water
2 tangerines
1 choc chip cookie (I made a batch of these for lunch box treats this week). This is another yummy recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.

Choc Chip Cookies

Dinner
I raided the fridge tonight and we all had left overs for dinner. Lil’ L chose to have the last portion of sweet chestnut casserole with 3 dumplings; M chose the sweet n sour veggies with noodles and marinated tofu; and I had one of my all-time favourite super quick meals… falafels in a wrap.

Falafel Wrap

This consisted of 2 wholegrain seeded tortillas, caramelised onion humous, Cauldron falafels (which I warmed in the microwave to soften then broke in half), 1 avocado sliced, some salad leaves, sprinkling of sunflower and hemp seeds and a big dollop of Branston chutney.  It took less than 5 minutes to assemble and was totally lush!

This falafel wrap is also one of Lil’ L’s favourite meals (minus the chutney!) and he loves to take them to school for his packed lunch 🙂

Dessert
Lil’ L had some pineapple chunks and Alpro soya yoghurt. I was too full for dessert!

At the moment, I’m loving meals that have little ‘hands on time’. I’d much rather be playing table football with Lil’ L then standing in the kitchen chopping and prepping food! I don’t mind if the dinner needs time to simmer on the stove or bake in the oven, as long as I don’t need to be there standing over it! What’s your current favourite quick prep meal?

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Filed under Breakfast & Elevenses, Dinners

Sweet Kale Soup (Child Friendly!) #WIAW

Hi everyone!I hope you’re having a great week so far 🙂

Just for a change, I thought I’d share our eats from Sunday for this week’s WIAW virtual foodie party. Thanks, all always, to our glamourous hostess Jenn over at PeasandCrayon.com.

Here goes…

Breakfast

Warm water & lemon (usual gentle start to the day)
Black coffee whilst reading in bed (Sunday is the only day I get to lay-in now so I’m making the most of it!)
– Warming bowl of cinnamon porridge, made with Alpro almond milk and topped with ground linseed (flaxseed), chopped walnuts, flaked almonds, goji berries, candied citrus peel, and a light drizzle of agave syrup. This is one of my all-time favourite breakfasts. It’s so yummy!

Cinnamon Porridge with Nuts and Dried Fruits 500

Lunch

At the moment I’m on a mission to find new ways of encouraging kids to eat kale.  Now there’s a challenge!

As we all know, kale is a super food. It’s packed with antioxidant vitamins A, C and K, contains iron and is a great plant-based source of calcium.  However, at the end of the day, when you’re 9 years old, it’s still a slightly bitter tasting green leaf and, as such, doesn’t hold at lot of appeal.

One of the biggest successes I’ve had in encouraging Lil’ L to eat kale is in the form of crispy kale (aka kale chips). However, after the initial enthusiasm for it, he’s now getting a bit tired of eating bowls of crispy kale every week.

On Sunday, I thought I’d experiment with making a kale soup. To make it more appealing to Lil’ L, I used sweet potatoes to make the soup creamy and sweet tasting. I also added some grated ginger to give it a little warming kick.

Sweet Kale Soup 1 - 500

The verdict?

He loved it!! After tasting it and declaring it to be ‘really yummy’ he proceeded to devour the whole bowl 🙂

While not the prettiest of soups, the taste more than makes up for it. For me, it’s a great Winter warming soup, perfect for keeping those cold bugs away!

Sweet Kale Soup 2 - 500

Here’s the recipe…

Lunch was followed by a delicious Ghirardelli chocolate. These chocolates were a gift from my wonderful American blogging friend Rachel. A parcel arrived on Christmas Eve filled with a whole host of goodies, along with a batch of her delicious home-made vegan ginger biscotti. What a star she is!

Gifts from Rachel 500

Snacks

A fruit smoothie, made with Kara Coconut Milk, fresh organic blueberries and frozen banana slices.

One tangerine & some walnuts

Dinner

For our main meal today, I wanted to make some comfort food, so I opted for one of our all-time favourite Winter warmers… Sweet Chestnut Casserole with Herby Dumplings.

Chestnut Casserole with Herby Dumplings

This was just what the boys needed after playing outside and making fire!

Dessert

For dessert, we had a Chocolate Banana Chia Pudding. A lovely, quick dessert that’s totally scrumptious (and healthy!)

Chocolate Banana Chia Pudding 500

That’s me done for another WIAW! Time to dash off to school now to teach my Wednesday Workshops 🙂 Enjoy the rest of the week everyone xx

Question of the day: What’s your favourite Winter comfort food?

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Filed under Baking & Desserts, Breakfast & Elevenses, Dinners